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I'm fairly convinced that if you need a smallish, not fancy 4- door these days, the hybrids are the way to go, but my skeptical husband is opposed because he says they are significantly more costly, even over the long run, than a basic Honda Civic. He hasn't done the research, though, and I'm not sure I have time to before his current car breaks down for good... Has anyone out there done the math to see whether a Prius or HOnda hybrid is ''worth it'' economically, given that gas is surely going to be well over $2 a gallon going forward (or know of a website that answers this question)? (Of course, I think the hybrids are worth it environmentally, but that's not going to convince him...) Are there tax advantages or state rebates or anything like that to offset the higher cost of the car up front? Thanks for any guidance that might convince a skeptic to go green (or greener)! raissa
Because the tax break is a deduction, its value varies, depending on your tax bracket. If you're in the 33% tax bracket, a $2,000 deduction will reduce your tax bill by as much as $600. If you're in the 15% tax bracket, it could be worth $300.
* You don't have to itemize. Instead, you should claim it as an adjustment to your income. Record the deduction at the bottom of your Form 1040, and write “clean fuel” on the dotted line.
* The deduction is limited to vehicles that have been certified by the IRS. So far, the IRS has certified the Toyota Prius, the Honda Insight, and Honda Civic Hybrid. R.K.
When we bought it, a Hybrid was about $10K more expensive than a regular Civic, and that's a big difference to make up just through gas money (especially because I suspect service will be more expensive throughout the life of the car). As far as environmental impact, yes, I have gotten an average of 45 mpg, but you'll find you get stellar gas mileage and responsible levels of emissions with *any* small Honda. (My husband's '94 Honda Civic hatchback still gets about 40 mpg.)
As a driver, I find the car very comfortable and well-equipped (although perhaps I think this because I never before had a car with automatic windows or climate control). The back seat is not painful, although certainly not generous in size, and thanks to the electric battery, the trunk is *very* small. It doesn't have the acceleration at high speeds that a sportier car would, but it is still nimble and I don't feel unsafe. We chose a manual transmission, and it has that nice Honda pick-up in low gears. It's fun to drive.
There used to be a federal tax break for buying a clean-air vehicle, but guess which president eliminated it? We just slipped in under the wire by buying in 2003. There are no other governmental advantages that I know of (our governor hasn't yet passed the law that allows hybrids to always use the carpool lane).
So why *did* we buy a Hybrid? We bought with our hearts, and to send the world a
message, and because it just seemed less boring than a regular Civic. If you just
want to be environmentally responsible and save money, you can achieve that with
an ordinary small sedan. On the other hand, I do still enjoy my choice as a symbolic
vote for the environment.
On long trips, it can get 50 mph. Around the city, I find that I get between 32 and 39 mph, depending on various factors.
I test drove the Prius, and for someone as short as I am (5'1''), it had some problems. Most notably, if I had the seat forward enough to drive comfortably, then the left side of the touch screen monitor in the dash was cut off from my view. I also found that too gimicky for my taste. The honda is exactly like your standard civic, except for the hybrid nature of the workings.
In short, I'm thrilled with the Honda and believe we've gotten excellent value for it -- both in gas costs and repairs.
Good luck in making your decision. Laurel
If you have bought a 2003 or 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid, would you please tell me where you bought it and how much you paid? I'm almost sure we want to buy this car (with a manual transmission) but am intimidated by buying a new car from a dealer, and there aren't many used hybrids out there. I have tried to do research online (autobytel, edmunds, consumer reports, kelly blue book, and fighting chance) but am not having much success figuring out what a fair price would be. Thanks! Afraid to Haggle
Many auto dealers are less than truthful about what an amazing deal they're ''giving'' you and most have their scenarios carefully worked out, so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. You WILL get the car of your choice if you hang in there. Tell them what you're looking for and what you want to pay, and don't hesitate to walk out the door and back to your old car if you don't get it, even if you're being told that this is the last Honda Hybrid in Northern California or some other doubtful story. In fact, if you're buying the car with a spouse or partner or whomever, it's wise to work out your own scenario, such as a prearranged sign or glance that means, ''Let's leave right now.'' Salespeople can recognize a decisive consumer and they want their commission, so make them earn it. Melanie
I'm considering buying a hybrid car and am wondering if anyone has bought outside of CA in order to get it faster? Any idea how long the wait is here and whether there is any negotiating on price? Thanks all! jennifer
After many years as a one-car family, we are now considering a second car. To minimize our resulting environmental impact, the hybrids sound like a good option. Those of you who have the Toyota Prius or the Hnda hybrid - tell me all about it! Is the gas mileage really as good as they say (we'd use it mostly for city driving)? Is it comfortable to drive? Reliable? Good with car-seats? What are the down-sides? Is maintenance expensive? How about insurance (relative to similar size conventional autos)? Any information on your experience would be valued. Thank you two-car family?
Everyone I've asked seems to really like the Prius. Does anyone out there have experience with the new 4-door Honda hybrid? Melanie
Our family has been Honda hybridized (2003 model) for the last three months, and we've grown very fond of our vehicle. The mileage is not as good as a Prius might get (we achieve about 38 mpg city--short trips; lots of stop-and-start--and 48 highway), but I think our Honda handles better than the Prius. It's a comfortable, quiet ride, with pretty nice audio, too.
Both are good cars, though, and either one is worth buying. You're paying more than you would for a standard Toyota or Honda, but the mileage, of course, is better, and the emissions much lower. (And as far as I know, there are both federal and state tax credits for buying a hybrid, and this is the year to do so, as the credits will supposedly start decreasing in 2004.) If you can afford the extra bucks now, you're doing a good deed for the environment and a pleasant deed for yourself.
By the way, there's a Honda hybrid owners' chat club on the Internet--and undoubtedly one for Prius drivers as well--full of advice and discussion from enraptured hybrid drivers: http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/civic_hybrid/ Melanie
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